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Old 06-28-2008, 11:02 AM   #91 (permalink)
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Hi all,
I'm new to this forum and arriving late at the party, so please excuse me if I cover ground that's already been covered.
I've recently become interested in hydrogen enrichment of gasoline engines. My first response when I saw the design of these cells was the same as many of you: "This violates Newton's Second Law, it's pure crap!" Then I started reading and researching a little more thoroughly and discovered that I might be wrong (again).

Here's a link to a Technical Paper submitted to the SAE regarding a study on this subject.

A Before Treatment Method for Reduction of Emissions in Diesel Engines

Quoting the abstract:
"This contribution describes the results of experimental investigation where a small amount of hydrogen and oxygen is produced by Hydrogen Generating System through the electrical dissociation of water and are added to the intake of a compression ignition engine operating on a commercial diesel fuel. It is shown that level of exhaust emissions including NOx can be moderately reduced using such a pre-treatment method in diesel engines. Due to its simplicity, low cost, combustion improvement and moderated reduction in exhaust emissions, such a pre- treatment method might be more attractive in comparison to other new after treatment technologies for application in diesel engines. "

While this study targeted reduction of emissions in diesel engines, note the phrase "combustion improvement"

This link provides some more detail on the mode of action. This page is on a commercial site for a company which markets these devices, but they are not responsible for the study that generated the data.

Not-Tsoo-Pa Enviro Fuel Systems (Medicine Water) Northwest Distributor of the Go Green Fuel Hydrogen Enrichment System

Of particular interest is the statement regarding the amount of hydrogen required to see a benefit:
"less than 1% of the inducted air volume"

Large units of this type are being built and marketed for commercial/industrial use on diesel trucks, mining equipment, etc. Neither the companies nor the devices are the shlocky, amatureish things that you see being promoted to the DIY market on the Internet.

Hy•Drive Technologies Ltd.
Not-Tsoo-Pa Enviro Fuel Systems (Medicine Water) Northwest Distributor of the Go Green Fuel Hydrogen Enrichment System

I have no affiliation with nor do I benefit from any of these companies.

I have recently built and installed a very simple electrolysis cell. I purchased a complete kit with assembly/installation instructions from an eBay vendor for $65. It is a copy of the Water4Gas design. I DO NOT recommend that you buy the eBook from Water4Gas, they charge more for the information than I paid for both the hardware and the info. I also feel that the marketing techniques used by Water4Gas have done much to discredit a technology which actually has value.

I first installed this cell on my '91 Honda Civic Wagon AWD. I drive the same stretch of I-5 every week, so I made 2 test runs (one north, then south) without the device, then again with it. The distance measures 188.9 miles. The first 2 runs (without the cell) averaged 32.6 mpg, with a total variation of .4 mpg. The second 2 runs (with the cell) averaged 35.5 mpg, with a total variation of .5 mpg. While not spectacular results, the improvement is 8.8%, which equals nearly $.40/gal at the current price of $4.47.

I will next be moving the cell to my '91 Honda Civic DX HB (can you tell I love the '91 Civic?). It is my daily driver and generally averages 40-42 mpg on the same stretch of I-5. I will post the results as they become available.

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Old 06-28-2008, 01:41 PM   #92 (permalink)
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It will be interesting to see what your results are after 10 tankfuls or so, enough time to remove any "driving bias" you might have because you want the device to work (although, I think if you've been trying to maximize mileage before installing it, you probably won't have any driving bias).

There is quite a bit of research in blended fuels, usually using compressed helium and diesel. The emissions reduction, especially NOx reduction, is said to come from lowering the temperature of the engine (if you take a piece of steel and throw it on the BBQ, you'll start producing NOx; lowering the temperature of the flame in boilers, etc., by means of a simple rod positioned over the burners was the first step in reducing NOx emissions. Later, boilers developed completely insulated fireboxes to eliminate as much heated metal as possible.) The other benefit is that compressed hydrogen, when injected into a diesel engine, displaces half of the fossil fuel used; and when the hydrogen tank is depleted, the vehicle still runs on diesel.

You may have seen the Fast Company article Motorhead Messiah, a Kansas mechanic who was able to convert a Hummer to diesel (no small feat) and then run it on blended fuel using compressed hydrogen and biodiesel. Its an interesting read, although he's definitely "selling something" in the article (Neil Young has him working on a hybrid design for a large 1960's car).

Time will tell if there are some unintended consequences from using the home-built kits.
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Old 06-28-2008, 02:42 PM   #93 (permalink)
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Yes, I have been doing everything I can to increase my mpg. I'm driving over 3000 miles/month so any small gains are magnified. Lately I've picked up 3-4 mpg by drafting trucks and other large vehicles. Not NASCAR drafting, 2-3 car-lengths back so as not to piss off the driver. Have gotten as high as 46 mpg. Have had 2 runs where I exceeded 50 mpg for no apparent reason, but those appear to be anomalies.

I must say that I appreciate the tone of this forum more than some of the others I've been on. More facts, fewer unsupported, loudly voiced opinions. It's refreshing to find people who read the data BEFORE making up their minds.
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Old 06-28-2008, 03:16 PM   #94 (permalink)
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Here are the patents for the "Plasmatron" hydrogen generator from MIT.
Alexander Rabinovich - Google Patents
Rabinovich is a smart guy. This system breaks down a small flow of gasoline to make the hydrogen, plus some harmless but un-needed byproducts. The power needed is modest.

Seeing this makes me lose all interest in electrolysis to make the hydrogen for enrichment. No platinum electrodes. No corrosive solutions.

From the patent drawings it looks easier to build for verification than a serious electrolysis setup.
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Old 06-28-2008, 04:36 PM   #95 (permalink)
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Here is a pdf file
http://www.psfc.mit.edu/research/pla...DF/dan_cps.pdf
from the MIT Plasma and Fusion Center.
If you only have time to read one page, make it page 24.
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Old 06-28-2008, 05:36 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttoyoda View Post
Here are the patents for the "Plasmatron" hydrogen generator from MIT.
Alexander Rabinovich - Google Patents
Rabinovich is a smart guy. This system breaks down a small flow of gasoline to make the hydrogen, plus some harmless but un-needed byproducts. The power needed is modest.

Seeing this makes me lose all interest in electrolysis to make the hydrogen for enrichment. No platinum electrodes. No corrosive solutions.

From the patent drawings it looks easier to build for verification than a serious electrolysis setup.
Wow, be careful! Mixing hydrogen with a plasma could easily lead to a disaster, just BE CAREFUL!
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Old 06-28-2008, 05:52 PM   #97 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttoyoda View Post
Here is a pdf file
http://www.psfc.mit.edu/research/pla...DF/dan_cps.pdf
from the MIT Plasma and Fusion Center.
If you only have time to read one page, make it page 24.
Thanks for the information.
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Old 06-28-2008, 06:21 PM   #98 (permalink)
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Quote:
Thanks for the information.
You are very welcome.

I think that part that freaks me out the most is that presentation was done in 2004. Is there any industry that improves/innovates at a rate that is SLOWER than the car industry? Maybe the people who still make buggy whips or whale-bone corsets? Jumping jeebus christus on a pogostick.
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Old 06-28-2008, 06:22 PM   #99 (permalink)
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Quote:
Wow, be careful! Mixing hydrogen with a plasma could easily lead to a disaster, just BE CAREFUL!
We all have to die of something, eventually.
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:53 PM   #100 (permalink)
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ttoyoda -

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttoyoda View Post
Here are the patents for the "Plasmatron" hydrogen generator from MIT.
Alexander Rabinovich - Google Patents
Rabinovich is a smart guy. This system breaks down a small flow of gasoline to make the hydrogen, plus some harmless but un-needed byproducts. The power needed is modest.

Seeing this makes me lose all interest in electrolysis to make the hydrogen for enrichment. No platinum electrodes. No corrosive solutions.

From the patent drawings it looks easier to build for verification than a serious electrolysis setup.
I never heard of Rabinovich. The name I was watching was Rudolf M. Smaling, also of MIT. He was working for Arvin-Meritor at one point. These were some of the articles that got me into researching hydrogen :

MIT's plasmatron cuts diesel bus emissions, promises better gas engine efficiency - October 16, 2003
MIT's plasmatron cuts diesel bus emissions, promises better gas engine efficiency - MIT News Office
Quote:
The team is finding that the device could make vehicles cleaner and more efficient, with a potentially significant impact on oil consumption.

"If widespread use of plasmatron hydrogen-enhanced gasoline engines could eventually increase the average efficiency of cars and other light-duty vehicles by 20 percent, the amount of gasoline that could be saved would be around 25 billion gallons a year," Cohn said. "That corresponds to around 70 percent of the oil that is currently imported by the United States from the Middle East."
ArvinMeritor / MIT Plasma Fuel Reformer - 11 June 2004
Green Car Congress: ArvinMeritor / MIT Plasma Fuel Reformer
Quote:
The team is finding that the device could make vehicles cleaner and more efficient, with a potentially significant impact on oil consumption.

“If widespread use of plasmatron hydrogen-enhanced gasoline engines could eventually increase the average efficiency of cars and other light-duty vehicles by 20 percent, the amount of gasoline that could be saved would be around 25 billion gallons a year,” [Daniel] Cohn [one of the leaders of the team and head of the Plasma Technology Division at MIT’s PSFC] said. “That corresponds to around 70 percent of the oil that is currently imported by the United States from the Middle East.”
ArvinMeritor Pursues A Different Hydrogen Strategy - 2004/08/xx
WIP - ArvinMeritor Pursues A Different Hydrogen Strategy - 08/04
Quote:
"Plasmatron" is a name that smacks of the sort of advancement in technology that the unit that ArvinMeritor (Troy, MI; www.arvinmeritor.com) is working to commercialize really is. Although that name was used by the researchers at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, from which the auto supplier has licensed the technology, they're calling it the "Plasma Fuel Reformer," a more descriptive, if mundane, moniker. This system, explains Pedro Ferro, vice president and general manager, ArvinMeritor Commercial Vehicle Emissions, "produces hydrogen onboard and on demand from the vehicle's fuel." That fuel can be either diesel or gasoline. With the system there's no need for a hydrogen infrastructure, as the system does the job.
...
As "Plasmatron" implies, a plasma cloud of ionized gas is generated, through which atomized fuel is passed. That induces a partial oxidation reaction, which results in H and CO. The hydrogen can then be mixed in the vehicle combustion chamber with gasoline. As a result, says Garrick Hu, vp of Advanced Engineering, ArvinMeritor Commercial Vehicle Systems, "You're extracting more of the energy from the fuel than you do in a normal gasoline engine." He explains, "It gives you flame stability, so you have the ability to operate in a lean condition. Your lean limit can move. Your knock limit can move. You can go to higher compression ratios. Higher compression ratios give you more power." He adds, "Typically that yields a higher NOx production--but not in this case."
(WO/2006/099070) ELECTRODE ASSEMBLY OF A PLASMA FUEL REFORMER - 2006-09-21
(WO/2006/099070) ELECTRODE ASSEMBLY OF A PLASMA FUEL REFORMER
Quote:
Hydrogen-rich gas generated by the fuel reformer 10 may be supplied to an internal combustion engine (not shown) such as a spark-ignited gasoline engine. In such a case, the internal combustion engine combusts the reformate gas as either the sole source of fuel, or alternatively, as a fuel additive to a hydrocarbon fuel. Alternatively, hydrogen-rich gas generated by the fuel reformer 10 may be supplied to a fuel cell (not shown) such as an alkaline fuel cell (AFC), a phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC), or any other type of fuel cell. In such a case, the fuel cell utilizes the hydrogen-rich gas in the production of electrical energy. The hydrogen-rich gas from the fuel reformer 10 may also be supplied to an emission abatement device such as a NOx trap or a soot filter to facilitate regeneration thereof. The fuel reformer 10 includes a plasma generator 12 and a reactor 14, as shown in FIG. 1. The plasma generator 12 generates a plasma arc using electrical power from an electrical power supply 16. A mixture of air from an air supply 18 and hydrocarbon fuel from a fuel supply 20 passes through the plasma arc and into the reactor 14 to reform the hydrocarbon fuel into a reformate gas. Electrical power is introduced into the plasma generator 12 by use of a power connector (not shown) which is advanced through an electrical power inlet 22. Air is introduced into the
However, I am almost positive that Arvin-Meritor has sold off this research. ... Google google google ... Here's some good news (to me) :

Smaling and de Weck Receive 2007 Best Paper Award from Systems Engineering - June 24, 2008
ESD News item
Quote:
In the paper by Smaling and de Weck, the effect of infusing new technologies is captured using the concept of architectural invasiveness relative to a baseline system. The degree of invasiveness is related to the amount of design change required to accommodate the new technology. The technology infusion methodology is demonstrated for a hydrogen-enhanced combustion engine, where the effects of integrating a plasma fuel reformer are modeled in terms of fuel economy, NOx emissions, and vehicle add-on costs.

Dr. Smaling is Chief Architect for Hybrid Power Systems at Eaton Corporation in Michigan. Previously, he was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston, director of research at the Houston Automotive Research Center (HARC), and director of research and engineering for Arvin Meritor's Light Vehicle Systems division. In this capacity he was responsible for commercial development of the plasma fuel reformer for light vehicle applications. He holds two MIT degrees: a Ph.D. in Engineering Systems (2005) and an S.M. in System Design and Management (2003).
Here's the paper :

Assessing Risks and Opportunities of Technology Infusion in System Design* - 23 June 2006
http://esd.mit.edu/HeadLine/smaling-...ing-deweck.pdf

Please note that the plasma reformer is a "given" in the paper. The question the paper tries to answer is the economic viability of introducing new technologies.

CarloSW2

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